(Last updated on January 12th, 2021)
Bitdefender or Panda, which antivirus software is a better choice in 2021?
Read this comprehensive, data-driven comparison to make a smart decision.
In today’s digital-focused world, a good antivirus software is no longer an optional addition to your safety necessities.
Do you know over 800 million malware samples were surfaced last year? The numbers projected for 2019 are even higher. It’s no surprise that we’re becoming more and more vulnerable to having our identities stolen or our computers infiltrated.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2021
Overall Score: 9.9/10
60-day money-back guarantee
Right now, we think that Norton is the best antivirus software your money can buy. It regularly earns perfect or near-perfect scores from independent labs and has the least impact on system performance compared to rival products. Its products combine top-notch security with an array of excellent security features and, best of all, offer exceptional value for money.
Overall, Norton 360 Deluxe (currently at 70% off) is our pick for the best antivirus suite in 2021. It is competitively priced and comes with almost everything you could possibly ask for, such as a firewall, a fully integrated VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup storage (50GB), a password manager, and parental controls. You can cover up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets with this suite.
If you want full-on identity protection and don’t mind paying more, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (currently at 35% off) gives those in the US a full range of identity protection features, more backup space (100GB), as well as all the above.
In this guide, we’ll take a comprehensive look at two of the best antivirus companies, Bitdefender and Panda, to find out which software is worth your money.
In a rush? See the quick rundown below to see which software is better in each category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender offers a more comprehensive feature-set and a wider selection of useful utilities than Panda.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Bitdefender. Independent lab tests confirm that Bitdefender is better than Panda in terms of malware protection.
3. Impact on System Performance
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender scored exceptionally well in both performance tests we considered.
Winner: Both. Both Bitdefender and Panda offer a simple, user-friendly interface.
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender offers better value for money than Panda.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Bitdefender. Bitdefender boasts a slightly better reputation than Panda, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Bitdefender is the overall winner as it offers more security-enhancing features and extra utilities in its security suites than Panda. Also, independent tests show that Bitdefender is better than Panda in terms of both malware detection and system performance.
Best Antivirus for 2021
- Robust feature-set
- Excellent anti-malware security
- Minimal system impact
- Easy-to-use interface
- Automatic updates
- Trusted by 50 million users
- 100% virus protection promise
- 60-day money-back guarantee
#2 (Very Good)
- Exceptional malware protection
- Little impact on performance
- Trusted by millions of users
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- User-friendly interface
#3 (Very Good)
- Good malware protection
- Trusted by big corporations
- Minimal impact on performance
- Good value for money
- 30-day risk-free guarantee
Now, let’s delve into the details.
First, we’ll see what features and utilities both companies offer in their security products.
We’ll start with Bitdefender.
Bitdefender Free Edition is the company’s limited Windows-only freeware, meaning you pay nothing to use it. But it only offers limited malware protection and doesn’t include any advanced features or utilities that enhance your security.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2021, another Windows-only suite, is the company’s first paid coverage. This suite comes with many useful features such as password manager that can store all your sensitive details and log-ins, a hardened browser for secure shopping experience, a limited-use VPN that you can use to anonymously surf the internet.
The File Shredder tool that lets you delete confidential files without leaving traces and the Vulnerability Scanner that checks for vulnerabilities in your system are also included in the suite.
Another level up is Bitdefender Internet Security 2021. Everything that’s part of the “Plus” suite is included in this suite, along with a smart two-way firewall that monitors all your network traffic and the Safe Files module that encrypts your sensitive data to prevent unauthorized changes your important files or folders.
A limited parental control module is also included in this suite, along with a webcam protector that defend against surreptitious spying.
Bitdefender Total Security 2021 (compatible with PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS) is the company’s full-blown security suite. It includes all the advanced features and utilities that are found in the previous suites, plus the useful Anti-Theft module that helps locate lost or stolen devices. Several computer performance optimization features are also incorporated into this package.
You can protect up to 5 PCs, Macs, or smartphones with a single license of this suite.
Out of all the high-end packages we have examined in 2021, Bitdefender Total Security 2021 is truly the best in terms of value for money. (We’ll cover the pricing later in this guide).
If you have more than five devices running on different platforms, Bitdefender Family Pack 2021 will be the most economical option for you. With a single license of this suite, you can protect all your devices with the top-shelf Bitdefender Total Security 2021.
If you want Apple-specific protection, Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is a great option. It offers top-of-the-line malware protection with several useful add-ons.
All Bitdefender premium products come with 24/7 customer support.
Interested in Bitdefender’s business solutions? Click here to compare all the business products.
Let’s see what Panda brings to the table.
Like Bitdefender, Panda’s antivirus line-up starts off with a freeware, called Panda Free. It provides protection against different kinds of malware threats, but there isn‘t much included in this suite in terms of advanced features and utilities.
Panda Dome Essential (compatible with both Windows and Macs) is the company’s first paid antivirus coverage. Besides providing comprehensive protection against all sorts of malware, this package boasts a useful firewall that defends against rampant attacks, a secure browser that allows you to shop and surf the web without fear, and a Wi-Fi network protector that guards against hackers and intruders.
Next up is Panda Dome Advanced. It comes with everything that’s jammed into the “Essential” suite, along with multi-layered ransomware protection and advanced identity protection.
A full-blown parental control module is also part of this suite.
Another level up is Panda Dome Complete. It includes everything found in the previous suite, plus the Data Shield that can safeguard sensitive files, a password manager, and a cleanup tool.
Finally, there’s Panda Dome Premium — the company’s top-of-the-line offering. This suite has all the features and utilities previously mentioned and adds 24/7 unlimited premium technical support and a premium VPN tool.
If you’re interested in Panda’s business products, click here for more information.
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, it’s clear that Bitdefender offers more security-enhancing features and utilities in its security products than Panda.
2. Malware Protection
The most critical aspect of any antivirus software is how well it protects your computer from malware threats; viruses, ransomware, spyware, worms, Trojans, just to name a few.
Let’s see how Bitdefender and Panda compare against one another in this regard.
To see which of the two software is better in terms of malware protection, we’ll look at the recent independent lab tests conducted by two well-known independent laboratories: AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
The experts AV-Test rate the performance of each security software on a 1 to 6 scale (with 6 being the highest) in three different categories: Protection, Performance, and Usability.
The most recent AV-Test evaluations were held in November and December 2018. In the “Performance” category, Bitdefender did exceptionally well and scored a perfect 6 out of 6. Panda also received a 6 out of 6 in this test, matching Bitdefender. (See this and this for detailed results.)
AV-Comparatives also conducts a series of tests to evaluate the performance of different security software. In their recent Real-World Protection Test, Bitdefender received the ADVANCED+ award, which is the highest award given out by the company, because of its near-perfect protection rate against malware and low false positives’ count. Panda didn’t fare as well as Bitdefender; it got the second-best ADVANCED award in the test.
***False positive is when a security product wrongly flags a clean file or URL as malicious.
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, Bitdefender is our pick in this category as it got perfect scores from both laboratories.
3. Impact on System Performance
Malware defense is important, but any antivirus that significantly slows your computer down isn’t really worth your money.
Once again, we’ll turn to the independent lab tests to see which of the two software puts less impact on system performance.
In the “Performance” category of AV-Test examination, Bitdefender once again scored a perfect 6 out of 6, indicating that it puts a minimal impact on the overall computer performance.
Panda received a slightly lower 5 out of 6 rating, which is decent but still not quite as well as Bitdefender’s score.
AV-Comparatives also conducts a Performance Test to measure that impact each security software puts on computer performance. The recent version of the test was conducted in October 2018. Both Bitdefender and Panda were given the highest ADVANCED+ award in this test, because of their impressive impact scores.
Winner: Bitdefender. It’s close call, but Bitdefender exhibited better overall performance than Panda in this category, too.
A good antivirus software should be user-friendly, right? After all, if your security software is complicated and too hard to figure out, then it’s possible that you may not enjoy using all of its features and functions.
So how do Bitdefender and Panda compare in this category? Let’s take a look.
Bitdefender’s user interface relies on utilizing a single central dashboard that’s both streamlined and easy-to-use. While its base functions are all self-explanatory, there are several key features that can allow you to customize its performance.
You can set up “quick access” slots and place favorite functions or tasks inside, allowing you to set up routines and schedules for scans or optimization duties. You can easily streamline a more complicated daily schedule using these slots, or by dragging and reorganizing tiles into any configuration you desire.
Overall, Bitdefender’s interface is suitable for both beginners who are new to using antivirus and those who are more computer literate and like having more control over the dashboard and its functions.
Panda’s software utilizes an extremely minimalist and slick interface, both for desktop and mobile versions. Accessing your various functions can be achieved by selecting the large buttons that are placed at the bottom of the screen. A newsfeed with tips for better security can be seen at the bottom.
You can see a quick summary of scans in progress or of current updates right in the middle of the dashboard. Inhabiting a scan or sweep or other functions is quite easy and quick, and you’ll find that uncovering the various functions comes naturally.
Winner: Both. Overall, it’s a tie in this category as both companies offer a simple, easy-to-use user interface.
Another important consideration that may ultimately influence your decision is pricing.
To determine which software is more worthwhile, we’ll look at each company’s pricing models to see which company provides more value for money.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus costs $34.99 per year for three PCs. Bitdefender Internet Security costs $39.98 for five PCs.
Bitdefender Total Security, which is the best and most comprehensive package, sells for just $44.99 and protects up to five devices.
Bitdefender Family Pack protects all your PCs, Macs, and smartphones for $69.98 per year. This is the best plan for you if you have more than five devices in your household running on different platforms.
|Bitdefender Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Bitdefender Antivirus Plus||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Internet Security||$79.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Total Security||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Family Pack||$119.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Bitdefender Small Office Security||Varies||Check here|
|Bitdefender GravityZone Business AV||Varies||Check here|
Panda Dome Essential, the company’s first paid antivirus product, protects one device for $44.24 per year. This is much more expensive than Bitdefender’s first offering, and the trend continues as we climb up the tiers.
Panda Dome Advanced protects one device for $53.24 per year, while Panda Dome Complete is even more expensive, at $80.24 per year for one device.
Finally, Panda Dome Premium, the highest coverage from Panda, provides a year of protection to one device for $125.24 per year.
|Panda Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Panda Dome Essential||$39/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Advanced||$65/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Complete||$60/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Premium||$99/year||No Discount|
|Panda Business Products||Varies||No Discount|
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, it’s clear that Bitdefender provides more bang for your buck than Panda.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Finally, let’s see how the actual customers of both companies feel about their products.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a well-known independent company that gathers customer feedback and averages it out into an A to F scale. Bitdefender gets an average C rating from the BBB, while Panda received a much lower D-.
There’s also consumeraffairs.org, which is similar to BBB but uses a 1 to 5-star scale (with 5 representing the ‘highest satisfaction’). Bitdefender currently has 4 out of 5 stars from consumeraffairs.org, which is more than decent, while Panda also boasts 4 out of 5 stars.
Winner: Bitdefender. Overall, it’s clear from the BBB ratings that Bitdefender is slightly ahead of Panda in terms of customer satisfaction.
Panda is competitive, but Bitdefender offers a more comprehensive feature-set and better malware protection with minimal impact on system performance. Also, Bitdefender’s security products are slightly cheaper than Panda’s.
Our recommendations: If you want to get the highest level of security and performance, there's no better choice than Norton, which protects over 50 million users worldwide.
After reviewing dozens of antivirus products from some of the biggest names in the cybersecurity realm, we believe that Norton 360 Deluxe is the best antivirus suite available on the market. It provides flawless anti-malware protection without slowing you down. Plus, you get almost all the advanced features you could ever want.
If you're willing to pay more for advanced identity protection features, we recommend Norton 360 with LifeLock select (only available in the US). It's a bit pricey but worth the price.
Anas Baig is a consumer privacy advocate and cybersecurity journalist by profession. Has has more than 7 years of professional experience under his belt. Anas has been featured on numerous media publications including The Guardian, Lifehacker, The Next Web, Infosecurity Magazine, Security Boulevard, Hacker Noon, CMS Wire, IAPP, SC Magazine, and many others. His interest includes Digital Privacy Rights, Information Security, Networking, Privacy, and Data Protection.